Amazon Rolls Out Enhancements to FBA Fulfillment Program
By Julia Wilkinson
Amazon's FBA fulfillment service is adding an option to its "Replenishment Alerts" system for sellers to be able to set a threshold based on "weeks of cover." The term weeks of cover is calculated by dividing your current fulfillable inventory by your average weekly sales over the past 30 days, explained Amazon in its FBA Newsletter dated Aug. 13, 2013. "Using this formula will enable your thresholds to flex with seasonality, which helps ensure consistent inventory for your products," it said.
Amazon called this a "small, but important update to the Replenishment Alerts system," and noted that before, sellers could only set a quantity threshold "that would trigger a notification to replenish your inventory." But, they said "we recognize that many sellers manage their inventory in terms of weeks of cover," so they enabled the additional option.
Sellers can access this option from their Manage FBA Inventory page. From the Apply to Selected Item(s) drop-down menu, they then select "Set Replenishment Alert," click "Go," and then set threshold types for the products in their inventory. Under the "When do you want to be alerted?" column, you can select "When Weeks of Cover Reaches (Weeks)," and then set a number in weeks.
While sellers in some Facebook groups were not aware of the "Weeks of Cover" method, one seller commented, "This sounds like it might be a good thing, especially during the Christmas (season)."
"If you're selling thousands of the same item which you purchase from a reliable supplier, then "weeks of cover" might help you plan the size of your orders from the supplier," wrote another, adding, "If you're selling one-offs and retail arbitrage items which you may or may not be able to find more of, then, not so much."
Other changes announced in the newsletter include:
Upgraded Fulfillment Reports, with reports moving to a left-hand panel, "which makes reports easier to find and access," according to Amazon. In addition, Amazon is introducing an online version of the Removal Order Detail report, which provides information for removal orders such as the order type, order status, and quantities removed.
New FBA User Permissions to provide controlled access to sellers' accounts. This allows sellers to provide access to employees or other helpers - or even outside vendors - to "FBA reports and tools in your Seller Central account while restricting access to potentially sensitive business information." (Amazon UK Seller Central had announced a feature like this on July 30th, called "new filtered FBA invited user permissions," according to one seller).
More Enhancements to the New Shipment Creation Workflow, including features based on feedback from sellers, such as a Downloadable Pack List, a Review and Modify feature to easily update your quantities, and an option to "Combine Labeled and Stickerless, Commingling Inventory" into a single shipment when going to the same fulfillment center.
The newsletter also reminded sellers of the impending "August 15 Inventory Clean Up," where sellers have units that have been sitting in Amazon fulfillment centers more than 365 days, and have not removed them by the deadline, will be charged Long-Term Storage fees. Amazon says sellers can use the "Enabling Long-Term Storage Removals" feature to avoid these fees.
For example, they can put price limits on their Long-Term Storage returns and disposals, such having all units priced over $20.00 returned to them, and everything below that price disposed of automatically without having to create return or disposal orders. (Sellers can enable these new settings at Settings > Fulfillment by Amazon > Long-Term Storage Removals).
About the author:
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at YardSalers.net where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.
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